Late filing of returns, random scrutiny and no TDS credit can play spoiler.
Income Tax refunds have always been a talking point on account of never reaching the assesses on time.
And, they are either given a variety of reasons for the same or none at all.
To begin with, you should check the permanent account number you provided at the time of filing returns.
Next, check the other personal details (name, assessment year, etc) which, if written wrongly, can add to your woes.
Says K Vishwanathan, executive director, RSM Astute Consulting, "Refunds can be delayed if your returns are picked up for scrutiny, for a variety of reasons."
Those filing returns after the due date can be called for scrutiny.
They can also be called if the refund arises on revising returns, or, if they are eligible for a significant amount as refund (Rs 1 lakh and above).
You can file late or belated returns only for up to a year prior to the current assessment year.
So, if you wish to file belated returns now, you can do so only for financial years 2009-10 and 2010-11.
Any refunds due for the earlier years will not be granted.
You can also be chosen randomly for scrutiny by the I-T department.
While you can question the department's action, you cannot stop them.
You need to provide all the documents asked for.
If unsatisfied, you'll be asked to produce more documents supporting your case.
If you are a businessman and are eligible for a refund on the back of mismatched assets, your refunds can be delayed, too.
Say, normally your profit margin is 20 per cent and it suddenly dips to five per cent.
In that case, you can be scrutinised.
Also, if your firm's sale has dipped but your expenditure or fixed cost has remained, you will land in trouble with the I-T
At times though, a scrutiny letter may result out of wrong communications.
Recalls chartered accountant Sandeep Shanbhag, "My client was asked to justify high credit card bill payments which were not in sync with his income.
"When the person concerned submitted all his bills, the department reverted, saying the scrutiny letter was wrongly sent."
"At times, the department may not agree with the refund amount you've calculated. It will calculate the same independently and send you a letter of 'intimation' or warning," he adds.
Such instances are restricted to situations where the discrepancy is significant.
The other important reason we tend to overlook is the address of correspondence provided at the time of applying for PAN.
"The I-T department is supposed to credit refunds of less than Rs 25,000 directly to your bank account.
"However, many a times, you may just land a cheque from them.
"That's why you need to keep the department updated about your change in address," said a Pune-based chartered accountant.
You can change your correspondence address by filing the PAN application form and submitting it to the I-T department with the changes.
There may be cases where you receive the cheque, but it has expired. In such cases, you must write back to the department.
The catch: There is no guarantee when, if at all, you will receive the refund.
If your credit for tax deducted at source is not available with the I-T department, they can stop your refund till they have it.
Sometimes, companies may not submit the TDS credit in time, leading to a delay in your tax refund.
To know , you can check your net banking account or form 26(A) on the National Securities Depository's Tax Information Network site.
TIN facilitates a PAN holder to view his/her annual tax statement (form 26AS) online.